on the tube

June 30, 2011 |
By Dean Robbins


'The Protector' presents a formidable female cop


In "The Protector" (Sunday, 9 p.m., Lifetime), Gloria Sheppard (Ally Walker) is a single mom and L.A. homicide detective. In the TV universe, where most female dramatic heroines must be soft and sympathetic, the scenario would imply that Gloria do her job in sexy outfits; that she have some weakness beneath her hard exterior; and that she go weak-kneed at the sight of a handsome guy.

But "The Protector" avoids such demeaning clichés. Det. Sheppard stands out among TV's female law-and-order types by being unapologetically smart and tough. Yes, she's human, too, but her relationship with her kids is tender without being gooey. It's exhilarating to watch this fast-talking dynamo as she gulps espresso and wise cracks in her husky voice. As played by the wondrous Walker ("Sons of Anarchy," "The Profiler"), Sheppard is a distinctive character without having to wear eccentricity on her sleeve.

" Did anybody ever tell you you're a little peculiar?" asks Gloria's partner.

" If by peculiar you mean awesome, then the answer is yes," she replies.

The answer is most definitely yes.


'101 Ways to Leave a Game Show'


Tuesday, 8 p.m. (ABC)

The brain trust at ABC was tasked with creating a wild and wacky summer game show. Thus, we have "101 Ways to Leave a Game Show," which dabbles in extreme elimination. If contestants answer a question wrong, they're shot into the air, flung through windows, blown out of a house or sent careening in a flaming car.

I began fantasizing about poetic methods of cancellation for "101 Ways to Leave a Game Show." Flood? Locusts? CV